Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cheer Up

Today is National Cheer Up the Lonely Day.  I have been unable to locate the origin of the holiday, or find out which president may have bestowed such an honor on a day in mid-July.  I’m hoping it isn’t a ruse by the greeting card companies of the world to sell more cards and stationery.

I imagine more people are lonely than would seem to be, or that would even admit it.  I always think of the old widow, sitting at home alone, no family or friends to call on her.  I don’t actually know anyone like that, but it’s a very compelling picture.

I also tend to think of a lonely person as someone who is more introverted and has fewer friends.  Actually, introverted people tend to like alone time, and may be less likely to feel lonely than someone who really enjoys having people around all the time.  When the party’s over, then what?  Can you feel lonely in a room full of people?  Absolutely. 

A lonely person is longing for a companion, a connection, someone to walk beside.  Even though I work in a social services type position in which some disconnection is necessary to maintain your sanity, I’ve found that small connections make a difference in maintaining the working relationship with a client. 

These small connections make others feel a little less different or outcast.  They realize they are not the only ones in their circumstances, or the only ones who think or feel like they do.  Maybe they belong on this planet after all.

So, celebrate National Cheer Up the Lonely Day.  If that means visiting Aunt Betty in the hospital or Uncle Maurie in prison, by all means, do it.  Send a card to a long lost friend, or an email to an old school mate.  Spread some seeds of cheer, and enjoy the blossoms they produce. 

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